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Kayla Altman Talks Inspiration, Fairy Tales, and Alligator Pie with Open Book Toronto

The Politics of Being UglyKayla Altman, whose first book of poetry will be launching with Guernica this Sunday, was recently featured in Open Book Toronto.

Altman sat down with Open Book to talk about where she finds inspiration and what experiences influenced her decision to become a writer.

“When I was a kid, around 7 or 8,” confesses Altman, “my dad read with me all the time – I remember us reading a book of fairy tales from around the world and being mesmerized. I had a copy of Brill Brittain’s The Wish Giver: Three Tales of Coven Tree that was missing a book jacket, so it was a deep green hardcover book with title imprinted on the front in gold lettering. I thought it was a magical and romantic old book… and started trying to write my own fairy tales…”

She also mentions revisiting Alligator Pie as an adult, saying that “My sister was talking about how grotesque a book it was to be read to us as children, so I went back and reread it. It’s fantastic!” Altman praises Dennise Lee’s beloved children’s book as “Imaginative and unapologetically Canadian.”

Take a bit of grim, a pinch of wit, and a heap of whimsy, and Kayla Altman’s The Politics of Being Ugly will burst forth from whatever cauldron you are making this bizarre brew in. Featuring a band of sweetly pathetic characters, this collection of modern fables goes from a bellybutton rebellion to romance on Pluto. With simultaneously grotesque and loveable losers, the poems take you through the mythical and the everyday to a place of harsh, hilarious and uncanny reality.

To read the full interview, you can visit the Open Book website at:

The Politics of Being Ugly will be available this Sunday, December 7, 2014 at the Third Fall Guernica Editions Book Launch. For more details about the launch, you can visit the event page at:

The Politics of Being Ugly is also available online at:

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